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Saskatchewan’s cyclotron cuts wait times in province and provides back-up services for Alberta patients

Read the Government of Saskatchewan news release here

The Saskatchewan Centre for Cyclotron Sciences (Cyclotron), which produces radioisotopes, has reduced wait times to one week for patients in the province requiring PET-CT scans. This information was announced by Premier Brad Wall today at an event at the cyclotron in Saskatoon.

Located in the University of Saskatchewan and operated by the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation (Fedoruk Centre), the Cyclotron began producing and supplying radioisotopes to Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital in June 2016. As well, it is currently serving as a back-up supplier to Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre, to help provide patients in that city with the medical scans they need while Alberta’s regular supplier undergoes scheduled maintenance. This establishes a relationship for additional supply support as future needs may arise.

“Our government has re-established significant support for nuclear research and development as part of our growth plan, including a $19.4 million capital commitment to build the Saskatchewan Centre for Cyclotron Sciences,” Wall said. “That investment is not only advancing the cause of innovation and science, it is bringing about real improvements in quality of life in Saskatchewan. With a secure supply of locally-produced medical isotopes in place, wait times for PET-CT scans have been reduced significantly. Critically ill patients are getting the care they need faster. The Cyclotron is helping to make life better in Saskatchewan.”

The cyclotron is a powerful tool that helps researchers understand diseases better, showing how they develop, how well treatment is working and leading to new treatments. PET-CT service, which began at the Royal University Hospital in 2013-14, is benefitting greatly from the local supply of radioisotopes in servicing its approximately 2,100 patients per year. It is estimated that about 65 patients in Calgary will be able to have scans done during this back-up period.

“Everyone is really excited about supplying to Calgary in addition to providing radioisotopes to Royal University Hospital,” Cyclotron Facility Manager Ghislain Boudreault said. “Because of where we are located and our capacity, we can supply to hospitals in western Canada. We can help patients, not just in Saskatchewan but also in Alberta.”

The Saskatchewan Centre for Cyclotron Sciences is the province’s first cyclotron and radioisotope facility. Its construction was funded by the Government of Saskatchewan (through Innovation Saskatchewan), Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Fedoruk Centre.